Category Archives: Ramblings

The Ironies of Reading

As a child and throughout high school and college, I absolutely despised reading. Too often there were courses that had required reading, from fictional works for English courses to textbooks for specific classes to technical readings online, in magazines and countless other sources. Much of my dislike for reading was attributed to me not being a great student. While I managed to make average-to-good grades, if a specific course didn’t come easy to me, my grades would reflect this fact. To say I didn’t put in the hard work required to achieve good grades is quite the understatement. Reflecting on this, my dislike for reading was without a doubt the primary factor.

Now, some eleven years removed from my college days, I have found an affection for reading. The fact that I’m not required to read plays a big part in this. It’s as if my core mentality is one that if I have to do something, I don’t want to do whatever that something is. As an example, in school I absolutely despised History courses. I recall asking my mother once in high school why I had to take History courses. Her reply, one I will never forget, was “to learn how to learn”. For me, History courses were nothing more than courses in memorization. With this attitude, and with my dislike for reading, I often struggled in these courses. Ironically, now that I am not required to study it, I have found an affection for all sorts of history.

Today, at any given time, I am typically reading at least three different books. If I get bored with one, I simply put it down and grab another. Simultaneously reading books of different genres or subjects seems to keep my attention alive. I have also learned over the last several months that in order to write (whether it be technical articles for The Clarion, ramblings such as this for my website or my currently ill-fated novel), reading is a must. This is by no means to imply that my writings are nothing more than plagiarisms. Writing requires an active mind. The one absolute way I have found to both kickstart my brain and to keep it active is to read. Learning new things through reading enables me to generate new ideas, teaches me new styles of writing and challenges me to constantly improve my writings each and every time. I used to chuckle when seeing someone’s Facebook or MySpace profile and they had Reading listed as a hobby or interest. With head hung low, I must now confess that Reading is now one of my most favorite pastimes as well.

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2010 SHS Wildcats

Originally published at gurusofthegridiron.com | July 15, 2010

 There is a buzz in the air around Scottsboro. With a disappointing 2009 season and the resignation of Coach Freddie Tidmore, speculation was rampant for weeks about who would take the reigns as the new Wildcat head football coach. After days and days of gossip and rumors, the Scottsboro Board of Education announced on January 28 the hiring of David “Swane” Morris as the 33rd leader of the Wildcat football program.

Morris comes to the Wildcats after a successful 9-year tenure at his alama mater Gaston High School. While at Gaston, Morris achieved a 65% winning percentage while going 9-8 in the state playoffs. Known for his defensive mindset, Morris brings leadership and a strong work ethic to the Wildcat football program. Reports from spring practice and summer conditioning emphasize Morris’s hard-nosed approach to coaching. His philosophies of determination and hard work have brought a strong sense of optimism to the Wildcat family over the last several months. With the student body and community behind him, the 2010 season of Wildcat Football should prove to be one of great excitement.

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Thoughts on Independence

Today is Independence Day in the United States – a day that is unfortunately referred to more commonly as the 4th of July. Addressing this day as its date each year rather than by its proper name seems to have distracted many of us from what this day is truly about. I’m confident an unscientific poll, if one were taken, would reveal that the first things that come to peoples’ minds when asked about Independence Day / 4th of July would be things like fireworks displays, grilling out, spending time with friends and family and a day off of work. How sad.

While pondering these thoughts for a few days now, my disgust was re-sparked just last night while watching the NASCAR race at Daytona. A pit-side reporter, wrapping up his commentary, referred to today as Memorial Day before catching himself and “fixing” the issue by saying the 4th of July. We Americans seem to be on a path of destruction, one which is no one’s fault but our own. Ignoring, rejecting or just being plain ignorant to our Nation’s history will, if it has not already, lower us to a worldwide standard or rank never before known to this fine nation of ours. I recently posted this on my Facebook status:

I am thankful to God to be an American. We are the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, One Nation under God. Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All. It’s about time we start acting like it.

I have never been an outspoken advocate for much of anything. I’m quite a passive guy, Live and Let Live could have been my official motto. With the swiftly-changing landscape of our beloved country, I’m beginning to feel, more than ever before, a burden to step up and do whatever I can to somehow help open the eyes of those around me to the fallacies of our nation’s government. There seems to be an idea of Government is Good and No worries, they’ll take care of it for me in way to many aspects of our daily lives. Big government spells big trouble folks. A brief look at any of the other major countries around the world would easily show this.

For whatever reason, we are or have become a Dependent nation more than an Independent one. I’m not speaking in terms of outsourcing our manufacturing to nations capable of mass-producing acceptable products for dirt-cheap prices. I’m referring to our (used collectively here, I fully realize such is not true for each and every American citizen) reliance and ultimate dependence on our federal government to get us to tomorrow. When I say tomorrow, I don’t mean 30 years from now. I literally mean tomorrow, the day after today. If I can’t afford the home I live in, or that nice fancy boat I just had to have or the sports car in my garage, as an American I have two options. 1. Work harder so that I can in-fact afford these items or 2. Sell these items, downsize, liquidate my possessions until I am able to live within my means.

Unfortunately, it seems many Americans do not hold this same viewpoint. After some thought, it’s becoming clear as to why. Human nature dictates that if someone (in this case, the federal government) is willing to continually extend its hand in unemployment benefits, where is the rationale that I should get off of the couch and find a job? This is only one example, but I’m confident you get the picture. Our government seems to prefer our nation be a welfare state instead of a free-thinking productive conglomerate of able-bodied, able-minded forward-thinking people who use their knowledge and talents to do good for humankind. I’ll say it again – how sad.

As you enjoy today’s cookouts, fireworks displays and whatever else you may have planned, please consider the purpose of the holiday – a celebration and recollection of our nation’s Independence. Many brave men and women gave their lives so that we may live as a nation, independent of others, blessed with freedoms and liberties not found anywhere else in the world. It’s time we quit taking these freedoms and liberties for granted. It is also time we step up as individuals, citizens of the United States of America, and let our displeasure in the path which has been chosen for us be heard very loud and very clearly. God Bless America.

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Big Words

While recently watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee, I was once again astonished at how well pre- and mid-teens are able to spell so well. I have concluded over the years that spelling, along with vocabulary itself, is an artform. Some people have a knack for it and some don’t. An article I ran across during the Spelling Bee caught my attention. Apparently there is at least one group, or coalition, of people who advocate against enhanced vocabulary and the associated use of big words. While I did not investigate this group, I do find it interesting that there are people out there who are outspoken against such a topic. While mankind’s education level is as vast as night is to day, I find it unfortunate that there are advocates who support the dumbing-down of civilization. Maybe I’m way off-base here, maybe not. While I continue writing my first book, I have to ask myself whether certain words are appropriate for the text I am composing. So far, my conclusion has been that dumbing-down the vocabulary in my text most likely will not increase the chance of more people buying and reading my work. Afterall, isn’t our vocabulary a direct result of not only our education but also our habits (or not) of reading books? I’m curious what other people may think about this. Please post a comment if you have one.

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